Hal Far Airfield 1923 - 1945
 
 Between the World Wars


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The late 1935 Abyssinian crisis threatened the possibility of war with Italy and all Fleet Air Arm aircraft available at Hal Far were embarked on HMS Glorious which sailed to the eastern Mediterranean. The defence of Malta was taken over by the two RAF squadrons namely No. 74 with Hawker Demons and No. 22 with Vickers Vildebeest. Once the crisis was over the Hawker Demons and the Vickers Vildebeests returned to Britain in July and August of 1936, respectively.

On 27th July 1936 operations started to convert a number of Fairey IIIFs to Swordfish I’s. These remained at Hal Far until called upon by HMS Glorious. The 823 and 825 squadrons returned on a number of occasions at Hal Far.

A tornado which struck Malta on 24th November 1936 demolished three hangars at Hal Far, damaging all the aircraft of 802 and 812 Squadrons, which were on a temporary period of disembarkation. Seven of the 812 Squadron’s Baffins were so badly damaged that they had to be Struck Off Charge. By 1938 new buildings at Hal Far airfield were completed to replace those destroyed by the tornado.

The heightened awareness of the situation in Europe in July 1938 saw the use of a Fairey Seal aircraft as part of a coastal defence programme. Soon after October 1938, Hal Far airfield saw RAF aircraft in transit namely Avro Ansons and Vickers Wellesleys of the Long Range Development Flight.